• Can you please tell us what Saint Marks Animal Rescue Foundation does?

SaintMarks Animal Rescue Foundation is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to rescuing abused animals in Nigeria, rehabilitating them, and rehoming them. It comprises both the Dog and Cat shelter that takes in abandoned, homeless dogs & cats, with the aim to rehabilitate them and then attempt to find appropriate homes for them. We also have the wildlife unit that rescues wildlife from the bushmeat trade, hunters, poachers, etc, rehabilitates them, and releases them to protected forests and parks where they will be safe from abuse.

  • When did you begin to rescue animals?

I started rescuing animals about six years ago when I finally owned by own private practice and thus had space and time to do so.

  • Did you always want to be a vet doctor and care for animals?

I have been drawn to animals since I was a kid and was influenced by books by Gerald Durrell and it came as no surprise to all that I became a veterinarian.

  • What do you love the most about what you do?

I find my work very interesting and enchanting. The challenge and experience of working with different animals are exhilarating. Each animal has its own personality. But what I love most is that feeling that is indescribable, ethereal almost, when you make a successful release back to the wild…you know you’re in cahoots with nature…it is a noble work.

  • How do you think regular animal lovers can get involved with animal rescue?

There’s always something everyone can do to help the animals; get involved, volunteer, donate, help educate others on the need to improve the welfare of animals- the huge need to help in the conservation efforts, we must all come together to change the status quo, change our mindsets, create a better world for our animals and learn to coexist with our wildlife.

  • What has been the most challenging part of what you do; Do you encounter administrative or social difficulties for this type of work?

When I started the rescue work folks thought I was crazy. They told me in so many words! It didn’t make sense to them; spending time, effort, and money on something that won’t yield tangible profits. But over time they have had change of heart.
There’s the ever-present challenge for space, more space to be able to take in more animals, funds to cater and feed them, donations is not a culture in Nigeria, social issues with neighbors, run-ins with the authorities and so on.
Some people made me into a pariah because of my relationship with snakes, really it’s been an uphill climb.

Please visit Saintmarkvet.com.ng or email saintmark2003@yahoo.com for donations or support
We had a sit down with Dr. Mark to have an in-depth discussion on his work,
  • Any advice for someone considering running a rescue facility here in Nigeria?

Really we need more people involved in this work and not keeping this wildlife as pets. For people interested in genuine rescue and release; I would advise these people to think Nigerian. People will come to adopt cats and dogs for all the wrong reasons…. reasons that got them abandoned in the first place….one has to learn the guiles of the society and learn to overcome them. There’s so much work to be done and one must not be discouraged but to take it one step at a time!

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